By Cameron Vickrey
I am reading a novel right now set in the 1960s (Ken Follett, Edge of Eternity). What a volatile time to live! Life was unsure; violence was everywhere. JKF, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin wall, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy. As I read, I catch myself thinking, “Thank God it’s better now! Thank God the world is a better place.” And to some extent, yes. It is a better place. But I can just hear the spirit whispering to me, “Shame on you for thinking this is it. There is so much to be done! God needs you.”
This verse in Isaiah calls us to wait on the Lord. Yet, this must be an active waiting. Read what you are given when you wait on the Lord. You are given incredible strength. If you wait passively in inaction you don’t need those gifts of strength. We cannot sit around wishing and waiting for God to change things. We wait with hope, with vision, with determination. We have a part to play even while we wait on the fulfillment of the vision from God.
Psalm 27:13-14 says: “I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Be strong and take courage. Wait for the Lord!” In his speech in Memphis on the day of his assassination, MLK said: “He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” His waiting on the Lord was the kind that didn’t let him give up when riots broke out and Sunday school children were bombed and killed. God wants us to wait on him with that kind of perseverance.
MLK also said in that same speech: “I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.” We may not have had the same kind of injustices and threats that the 1960’s held, but we have too many others that darken our world. But we know that a star once lit up a dark Bethlehem sky and shined hope into the hearts and lives of people for ages to come. We must continue working for God’s vision of a world that embodies hope and peace and joy and love. But we must wait on the Lord with perseverance and receive God’s gifts: unfailing strength and wings like eagles.